Reformed copper thief's jail term replaced with probation

Giovanni Grixti warned the convicted thief that the success or failure of his probation lay in his hands, weighing the interests of society against the appellant's rights

Mamo had filed an appeal later that year, asking for a lighter punishment
Mamo had filed an appeal later that year, asking for a lighter punishment

The court of criminal appeal has slashed the sentence originally handed to a man for stealing copper in 2010.

Jean Pierre Mamo, 34, had been arrested together with fellow Cospicuan Richard Decelis, 24, and charged with stealing copper wires from the old power station in Corradino between 1 and 10 September of that year. Mamo was also accused of stealing further lengths of cable from a construction site in Ta’ Xbiex between 4 and 6 September, also being accused of relapsing.

Mamo and Decelis had both initially denied the charges but in 2014 had changed their not guilty pleas to admissions of guilt, being handed custodial sentences of 18 months and 26 months, respectively.

Mamo had filed an appeal later that year, asking for a lighter punishment in view of his particular circumstances.

In a sentence handed down today, the court of Criminal Appeal upheld this request. It pointed out that it was rare for that court to disturb a punishment handed down, unless that punishment was outside the legal parameters.

Mamo's sentence had tended towards the legal minimum, it said. The court also noted however, that a probation officer it had appointed at Mamo's request had reported that Mamo had done his utmost to get his life back on track, his traumatic upbringing and unstable relationships with women. Despite this difficult background, the accused had resisted falling into a drug or alcohol habit.

After he had spent some time in prison he had found it difficult to find a job, noted the court, but his persistence had paid off and he had succeeded in finding concurrent full- and part-time employment. The probation officer had suggested the court refer Mamo to a psychologist to work out the issues from his traumatic past that had been clouding his present.

Mr Justice Giovanni Grixti, having weighed the interests of society against the appellant's rights, the court said it was prepared to offer Mamo an opportunity for reform, warning him that its success or failure lay in his hands.

Mamo's 18-month prison sentence was revoked and replaced by a three-year probation order, with the man's probation officer reporting on his progress twice yearly.